The carefree fun of grandparenting

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child's hand

A mountain of leaves, raked by my daughter, proved too tempting for a 3-year-old girl to ignore.

“Watch this!” my spunky little granddaughter yelled over her shoulder, her eyes sparkling with orneriness. 

When she landed, the leaves swallowed her up like a tidal wave. When her little head popped up, I expected a gleeful shout. Instead, there was no reaction at all for a bit. “Ah, shoot. That wasn’t so gwate!” she said, her disappointment palpable. 

This is a little girl who has been bringing laughter with her unexpected observations from the minute she could talk, which came quite early. 

One recent day, bumping her arm on our way outside to play, she instantly started to cry, a rare occurrence. I’ve seen her take some mighty hard hits and falls and never shed a tear. I knew by the way she was holding her arm exactly what had happened. “I’m so sorry,” I said. “I know how bad that hurts. You hit your funny bone,” I started to explain.

“No, I didn’t. It is not funny AT ALL!” the little lady corrected me, wiping a tear from her face.

One day she explained to me that some people with a big tummy get a baby. Other people with a big tummy get nothing at all. “It weally isn’t fair,” this baby-loving child explained with a sigh.

“We don’t eat Play-Doh,” she told me as we rolled and cut blue and yellow dough at the table. 

A few seconds later, she confided in me not to feel bad, because it doesn’t taste good, anyway.

She is sweet, mixed with just the right dose of spice. She exudes shyness that can melt away as quickly as ice cream on a summer day, her silence morphing into ornery banter. Riding her scooter, one leg held high for dramatic effect, she is always moving in high gear. This little blondie’s blue eyes twinkle a little bit extra just before she plays a trick on her grandfather, Poppy.

I have grown to fully understand the joyful magic of grandparenting as I get to glimpse my daughter all over again in this little girl. The worries and exasperation of parenting is no longer casting a veil over the fun of the moment.

“Why are we turning this way?” the little one asks her mommy. 

Explaining that it’s time to put gas in the car, there is a shriek. “Oh no! Mommy! Are we gonna need a tow?”

A deep love of animals seems to have been born into her soul, as she is intensely drawn to dogs and cats. When our barn cat ran from her, she was clearly offended, arms crossed, followed by a foot stomp for good measure. “Why doesn’t he like me?” 

Attempting to change the subject, I said, “Let’s go see the baby cows.”

Another big sigh was followed by, “Oh, Gigi. Those are not baby cows. They are called calves.”

There’s nothing quite like being set straight by a toddler!

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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.

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